Most Blessed Sacrament
FR. STEPHANO MANELLI
Imprimatur: 1973, Naples, Italy
Every Day With Him, Part 2
Full Ciborium, Empty Bread Boxes
Let us go forward! We should not apologize for doing something so holy as receiving daily Communion, to which every blessing for soul and body is attached.
Blessings for the Soul
As for blessings for the soul, St. Cyril of Alexandria, Father and Doctor of the Church, wrote: "If the poison of pride is swelling up in you, turn to the Eucharist; and that Bread, Which is your God humbling and disguising Himself, will teach you humility. If the fever of selfish greed rages in you, feed on this Bread; and you will learn generosity. If the cold wind of coveting withers you, hasten to the Bread of Angels; and charity will come to blossom in your heart. If you feel the itch of intemperance, nourish yourself with the Flesh and Blood of Christ, Who practiced heroic self-control during His earthly life; and you will become temperate. If you are lazy and sluggish about spiritual things, strengthen yourself with this heavenly Food; and you will grow fervent. Lastly, if you feel scorched by the fever of impurity, go to the banquet of the Angels; and the spotless Flesh of Christ will make you pure and chaste."
When people wanted to know how it came about that St. Charles Borromeo kept chaste and upright in the midst of other youths who were loose and frivolous, this was his secret: frequent Holy Communion. It was this same St. Charles who recommended frequent Communion to the young St. Aloysius Gonzaga, who became the Saint of angelic purity. Assuredly, the Eucharist proves to be "the wheat of the elect and wine which sprouts forth virgins" (Zach. 9:17). And St. Philip Neri, a priest thoroughly familiar with young people, remarked, "Devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and devotion to the Blessed Virgin are not simply the best way, but in fact the only way to keep purity. At the age of twenty nothing but Communion can keep one's heart pure ... Chastity is not possible without the Eucharist." This is most true.
Blessings for the Body
And what of the blessings that the Holy Eucharist brings for the body? St. Luke said of Our Lord, "Power went forth from Him and healed all" (Luke 6:19). How many times at Lourdes has this not again proved true of Our Savior in the Eucharist? How many bodies have been healed by this kind Lord, veiled within the white Host? How many people, who were suffering from sickness or from poverty, have there not been who have received, with the Eucharistic Bread, the bread of health, of strength, and aid for other needs?
One day St. Joseph Cottolengo noticed that a number of patients in his House of Providence had not chosen to receive Holy Communion. The ciborium remained full. Now that same day the pantry ran out of bread for the forthcoming meal. The Saint, setting the ciborium on the altar, turned and very animatedly made this expressive statement: "Full ciborium, empty bread boxes!"
This bore out a truth. Jesus is the fullness of life and love for my soul. Without Him, all else is empty and arid. With Him I have limitless reserves every day for every good, purity and joy.
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